HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds have been splashed out on library services at Hindley prison.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has allocated almost £58,000 this year to run a library service at the youth offending institute, in Bickershaw – bringing total spending to more than £365,000 since 2005.
The news comes as Wigan residents prepare for major changes to their library service after Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT) had its budget slashed by more than £1.1m.
Wigan Council is proposing a series of cost-cutting measures including scrapping the borough’s mobile library service and sharing buildings with other services in order to cut overheads. A statement from the MoJ said: “There is a legal requirement for each prison to provide its prisoners with access to a library. The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is responsible for allocating annual funding to National Offender Management Service (NOMS) for this purpose for public sector prisons in England.
“The funding provided covers the costs of contracting out library services to local authorities.
“Prison governors have flexibility to decide how budgets allocated to their prisons are then further divided into staffing and other expenditure in consultation with their local authority library provider.”
Funding for a library service at Hindley prison is £57,889 for 2011/12. This has risen from an annual allocation of £53,205 in 2008/09, and £34,345 in 2005/06.
Prisons receive the amount for learning and skills which includes the provision of libraries.
The funding will include provision for the costs of contracted out library services and staff costs, together with library capitation fees (books, pamphlets, newspapers and magazines, as well as material provided in audio, visual and other media format), subscription costs and affiliation fees.
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